When it comes to discussing R&B music, “Smooth” is an adjective that has become ubiquitous. It’s the genre equivalent of “Hard” for Trap, “Dreamy” for Synthpop, and, well… “Punk” for Punk. It’s a word that perfectly embodies the emotions the underground R&B movement strives to create. It should be high praise, then, to say that Abhi//Dijon’s self-titled EP is some of the smoothest music to glide its way onto the scene this year.
Standing at around 13 minutes in length, Abhi//Dijon is just long enough to complement a morning commute or fill a Sunday jog with some sunshine. It introduces itself with “Honest,” a cozy track that feels like a hug from a good friend. Warm bass hums in the background as synths and echoey voices coo in the front of the mix, setting up a soundscape perfectly suited for some understated singing about familiar sentiments of love and longing. This style should be immediately recognizable to fans of the genre; it’s practically R&B broken down to its very essence.
The other three tracks cruise along in similar fashion, albeit with a few changes to the formula. “Distant Love” coasts for three minutes before fading in to a nocturnal interlude with some gorgeous keystrokes; “13” builds itself around a subtle string pattern; and “Young” keeps matters short with an abrupt end that seems more like a transition than it does a conclusion.
That quick curtain call for Abhi//Dijon is both a pleasure and a pain. On one hand, the brief length of the project leaves one thirsty enough to applaud for an encore. On the other, one might wonder if a second act could have held up so well if it wasn’t accompanied by some rising action. As serene as these songs may be, they all strike such similar chords that they tend to fade into one another. With the exception of the second track’s instrumental switch, it’s difficult to point out peaks in the experience high enough to ascend above the initial impression. A few “wow” moments to turn comfort to bliss would have done wonders here.
Above all, Abhi & Dijon are skilled at their craft. The warm mixes, relaxed vocals, hushed percussion, and dreamy soundscapes perfectly embody the word “smooth” down to its very core. Mixed feelings about a lack of experimentation, a sense of familiarity, and a touch of disappointment at the closer all fade away the second the replay button brings “Honest” on for another rotation. Abhi//Dijon may be resting deeply in its comfort zone, but there aren’t many better places to be.